Pyongyang set its intentions straight by launching several short-range missiles off its missile test site at Kittaeryong, on the east coast of North Korea into the sea. The U.S. military’s Pacific Command at Haiti reported within a span of 20 minutes, it had detected three short-range ballistic missiles. Although initially, the Pacific Command had said two of the missiles had failed in flight, it later revised its statement saying two missiles flew about 250 km in a north-easterly direction. According to the Washington Post, “We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment and we will provide a public update if warranted,” Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command.
This act is widely seen as North Korea’s protest at the annual joint military drills conducted by South Korea and the United States which the former considers as preparation of war. On July 28, North Korea had tested an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to fly 10,000 km targeting some parts of US. This led to rising tension and exchange of heated words as US President Donald Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of fire and fury if he threatened the United States.
Sources – Wasington Post, Reuters
A defiant North Korea claims to have tested its first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)- code named Hwasong 14 which it claims has the ability to hit targets across the globe.The referred missile was claimed to cover an altitude of 2802 kms and covered a distance of 933 kms in 39 minutes before landing close to the sea of Japan during it”s testing.An ICBM missile operates within the range of 5000-10000 kilometers and has the capability to carry a nuclear warhead.Although many skeptics will doubt about the nuclear warhead, re-entry vehicle and other proofs of working guidance of the missile, the fact that North Korea has actually managed to showcase its technological ability in launching an ICBM adds credibility to the nation.
Expectedly the close neighbours along with U.S.and Russia have strongly condemned the test. While South Korea has called for action by UN Security Council, Japan has stressed for an alliance with South Korea and U.S. to put pressure on Pyongyang. Russia and China have asked North Korea to suspend its tests and also asked the alliance of U.S and South Korea to stop it’s military exercise plans.The launch which took place on 4th July, which incidentally is American Independence Day gives North Korea a chance to hit peripheral areas of U.S. Although a full front coverage of U.S is still far away the launch proves that.
North Korea had made progress despite a hard call on itself by global superpowers.
South Korea confirmed on, 21st June, 2017 that the drone discovered in early June on a mountain near the Demilitarised Zone border is a North Korean drone surveillance. According to the reports by Reuters, this violates the Korean War truce. Seoul describes this act as a ‘grave provocation’ and is demanding a probe into the matter by the United Nations.
The drone was equipped with a camera and aerial photographs of a U.S. anti-missile defence system. The contents of the camera analysed by the military revealed a 64-gigabyte memory chip that had been spying on the missile defence system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). Seoul condemns this spying mission by Kim Jong-un and threatens to retaliate by using their strong military force.
Military officials stated that the drone was launched in the Kumgang-gun area on May 2 and started photographing a few kilometres north of the southeastern county of Seongju. The defence ministry found resemblances between this latest drone and another North Korean drone discovered in 2014 on Baengnyeong Island, near the inter-Korean maritime border.
Sources: Reuters, Daily Mail
Three weeks after the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Malaysia has asked the North Korean ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours. The diplomatic blow to Ambassador Kang Chol came from the Malaysian foreign ministry, after he failed to provide an apology over his comments regarding Malaysian authorities’ murder investigation of Kim Jong-nam.
Kim Jong-nam was murdered by North Korean agents with a toxic nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur’s airport and Kang Chol had commented that Malaysia’s investigation could not be trusted. He said Malaysia was “colluding with outside forces” in an obscure reference to South Korea. US and South Korean officials have said Kim Jong-nam was killed by North Korean agents with the deadly VX, a nerve agent classed as a weapon of mass destruction.
According to the Indian Express, a statement from the Malaysian foreign ministry read, “The expulsion of the DPRK (North Korea) Ambassador is… an indication of the government’s concern that Malaysia may have been used for illegal activities”. Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Anifah Haji Aman said “Malaysia will react strongly against any insults made against it or any attempt to tarnish its reputation”.
Pyongyang refuses to acknowledge the dead man’s identity and claims that Malaysia is hand in glove with its enemies, even when two suspects – Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese woman Doan Thi Huong remain in Malaysian police custody. Malaysia, in response, has imposed visa travel for North Koreans, effective March 6, 2017, in a complete departure from the visa-free travel enjoyed earlier.
Sources: 1] Free Malaysia Today
Geneva, March 1: China insisted on maintaining calm and restraining from taking hurried steps after South Korea expressed possible suspension of North Korea from the United Nations for using the weapon of mass destruction in killing its leader’s half- brother.
According to the statement issued by Malaysian Police, two women smeared VX nerve agent, a chemical listed in the United Nation banned weapons of mass destruction, in an assault on Kim Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13.
The U.S and South Korea believe that this murder was planned by North Korea.
“Many international media pointed out that North Korea’s use of chemical weapons for the targeted killing in a third country sent a very clear message to the world,” said South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Sethe, speaking in Geneva at a U.N. forum, reported US News. “Namely this impulsive, unpredictable, trigger-happy and brutal regime is ready and willing to strike anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
North Korea said on Tuesday it “categorically rejects” what it called “fictitious and preposterous assumptions”.
China is one of the few remaining supporters of North Korea. However, angered by the Korean nation’s recent excesses at the nuclear front, China has also supported some tough U.N sanctions. China has pushed for talks to resolve the stand-off and is playing host to the senior North Korean diplomat, Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil Song.
The U.N. Security Council can recommend to the 193-member General Assembly – likely through the adoption of a resolution – that a state be suspended or expelled. Such a move would need to be approved by two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.
Source: US News, Reuters
In a move that comes across as cordial, South Korea returned the ships and North Koreans that they found drifting at the sea back across their maritime border. The South Korea’s unification team said that it has sent back the patrol vessels and eight North Koreans that they had rescued during a sea rescue last week.
All the eight North Koreans rescued, on interrogation, expressed their desire to return to the North. According to Jeong Joon-hee, spokesperson of the External Affairs ministry, this return came after North Korea ignored notice on plans regarding repatriate the crew, some of whom are suffering from frostbite. He further elaborated that at least one person is believed to have died due to starvation.
The already tensed relations between the two nations flared up, even more, this year after North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and several nuclear launches of ballistic missiles.
On the other hand, North Korea points fingers at South and condemns the announcements made by latter about the defection of its people. It also accused the South of kidnapping 13 people at a restaurant in China who defected to the South.
SOURCES: Reuters, The Australian
IMAGE SOURCE: Representational image sourced from Xpat Nation
The influence peddling scandal has made President Park Geun-hye face an impeachment vote in Parliament on Friday. This will result in her removal from the office in disgrace.
People are supporting her impeachment through opinion polls and rallies on every Saturday for the past six weeks. According to the opposition parties, the Parliament is expected to vote in favour of impeachment and they are getting a full support from some members of Park’s conservative Saenuri Party. However, the Constitutional Court must decide whether to uphold the motion, a process that could take up to 180 days.
As reported Park is accused of conspiring with a former aide, and a friend.They have been charged with pressurizing big businesses to donate to two foundations, which have been set up to back her policy initiatives. Nonetheless,she has totally denied all accusations, but she is sorry for being incautious in her ties with her friend, Choi Soon-sil.
The Parliament is scheduled for the session and is to begin at 3 p.m. As per the media, it will take one hour to complete the balloting. Further, Park is waiting for the court’s ruling, and signaling.
The impeachment bill was produced in Parliament on Thursday,and it has to be voted on within 24 to 72 hours.
Sources – DNA, CNBC
Image sources – Huffington Post